Photo by ISIphotos.com
Don’t call it a comeback. At least not yet.
The Los Angeles Galaxy’s 5-2 drubbing of D.C. United raised plenty of questions about D.C. (again) but it also raised the question of whether Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan and David Beckham could help LA secure its first playoff berth in three years.
Yes, I know, on some level it seems absurd to talk about a team making a playoff push when it has just won its first game in three months, but this is Major League Soccer, where the Western Conference (save for Houston) has been a masterpiece of mediocrity, leaving the door open for the Galaxy to fight back into the playoff race.
The Galaxy’s win has pushed LA to within two points of third place in the West. The tougher part for LA will be leapfrogging the teams ahead of it in the standings. Can the Galaxy do it? Can LA complete a turnaround?
It won’t be easy, but it is possible.
How can it be possible? It is possible because the Galaxy boasts a virtually unstoppable offense that will keep it in almost any game. It is possible because Arena, Donovan and Beckham can make it possible. it is possible because two points isn’t that much ground to make up, even if there are three other teams trying to make the same climb.
It will only be possible if Arena sorts out a defense that has allowed at least two goals in eight of its past nine gams. No, this isn’t a new problem, but it is up to Arena to solve it. Having rookie Sean Franklin healthy is a big help, but the lack of size in the back is a problem.
So what lies ahead for the Galaxy? Here is the schedule of remaining games, and it isn’t exactly easy:
- Thursday- at Chicago
- 10/4- at Columbus
- 10/12- vs. Colorado
- 10/18- at Houston
- 10/26 vs. FC Dallas
It’s not unfair to suggest that LA needs nine points from these matches to have a realistic chance of qualifying for the playoffs. That’s three wins, or two wins and three ties. Road games at Columbus and Houston will be extremely difficult, but the other three games on the schedule are manageable. You might think that’s not the case at Chicago, but the Fire has been vulnerable at home, as evidenced by Sunday’s 4-1 thrashing against FC Dallas. A win Thursday and a win against Colorado could set up LA for a win-and-in scenario at home against Dallas.
The only problem with the Colorado game is the fact that it falls on an international fixture date. Will Bob Bradley let Donovan skip the qualifier against Cuba? Is David Beckham ready to tell Fabio Capello he’s more interested in staying in LA then flying halfway around the world to watch Theo Walcott run circles around opposing defenses? If LA has Beckham and Donovan the rest of the way, pulling off a playoff run isn’t impossible.
It’s time for a poll:
What do you think? Will the Galaxy find a way to sneak into the playoffs? Share your thoughts below.
(Also, apologies for the late posting of MMCB, but it should be noted that it is still technically morning in California.)